2006 NBA Draft
by Bob Radl, StaffWriter
The next generation of possible NBA stars was drafted lastWednesday night in New York. There were no high school players taken in this draftunder the new NBA collective bargaining agreement. Players coming directly outof high school are no longer eligible to be drafted. The NBA draft means moreto teams than its counterparts in other pro sports. The 2006 NBA draft was onewhere teams were drafting for need as much as upside ability with their draftchoices. This draft also lacked the appeal of potential marquee players.
This was a draft of surprises as several players of promisefell down the draft board for various reasons. Several trades were made in thefirst round with the Portland Trailblazers moving players almost at will. Threecollege seniors were amongst the first seven picks for the first time since1997. International players, lead byAndrea Bargnani the first pick of the draft, were well represented once againas NBA teams continue to scour the globe for talent.
1. Andrea Bargnini, SF, Toronto, Bargnani was theconsensus top international player in this draft. At 6’ 11”, the comparisons toDirk Nowitzki are inevitable. Despite his size, he prefers to play on theperimeter. Bargnani is very athletic and a skilled offensive player. His rangeextends out to the three-point line and he is considered to be a mechanicallysound shooter. His ball-handling skillsare good, and he has the coordination, footwork and body control to weave hisway in and out of traffic. He’s a creative but not an explosive finisher.Bargnani will need to get stronger to play in the NBA, but makes for anintriguing choice to play alongside Chris Bosh in Toronto.
2. LaMarcus Aldridge, C, Portland, Aldridge wasgenerally considered to be the most complete big man in the draft and also themost polished. He can play with his back to the basket or facing it. Aldrigerecorded 17 double-doubles this past season for Texas. He added 25 pounds tohis frame last summer and can withstand the banging down low every night in theNBA. He is very athletic and possesses great court sense. I
3. Adam Morrison, SF, Charlotte, Morrison has an NBAstyle game and can move without the basketball. He has a nasty competitivestreak that should serve him well in the NBA. Morrison led the nation inscoring this past season at 28.1 points per game. He can score from anywhere onthe court. He has a nice mid-range jumper and can also score from the three-pointline. Despite his seeminglyawkward athleticism, Morrison showed the ability to create his own shot at willagainst the best and most athletic defenders in college basketball. Hisball-handling skills are very good. Morrison may be overmatched by some of the quicker more athleticsmall forwards in the league. He will also need to improve his defense andlateral quickness.
4. Tyrus Thomas, Forward, Chicago, Thomas was anearly entry into the draft as a freshman. He runs the court very well for man ofhis size at 6’ 9”. Thomas was considered by some to be the most athletic playeravailable in this draft. He was the SEC freshman of the year. Thomas has alimited offensive game at the present time. He gets most of his point on dunks,offensive rebounds and in transition. He will need to add some bulk to play inthe NBA and also must extend the range on his jump shot. Thomas has a hugeupside that has many scouts salivating over his potential for the next three tofive years.
5.Shelden Williams, PF, Atlanta, Williams was one ofthe more complete players entering this draft as he had played four years ofcollege basketball. He is a strong rebounder and blocks more shots than manywould expect. In fact, Williams lead the nation in blocked shots per game as ajunior with 3.7 blocks per game. He is very muscular and can appear to be alittle mechanical at times. Despite his size, he can run the floor fairly well.Williams has a long wingspan that will also enable him to play some center inthe pros if teams want to play small ball.
6. Brandon Roy, SG, Portland, Roy’s stock rosedramatically during his senior year. Heaveraged 20.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game as a senior. Roywas considered to be one of the more complete guards in the draft. He can takeplayers off of the dribble and also is a good ball handler. Roy plays undercontrol and makes good decisions on the floor. He may be a bit overmatched bysome of the larger and quicker off-guards in the NBA.
7. Randy Foye, Guard, Minnesota, Foye was consideredto be one of the more polished guards in this year’s draft class. He has goodsize for a combo guard at 6’ 4”. He is a strong guard and possesses a greatfirst step. He has a smooth first step and possesses a couple of differentgears to go with solid leaping ability. Foye is a slasher with good ballhandling skills and rebounds well for his size. He can guard most point guardsbuy may struggle against larger off-guards. He is also not considered to be acreative passer.
8. Rudy Gay, SF, Memphis, Gay has the potential toeither All-NBA or a complete bust of a lottery pick. Here is players with aworld of talent but can play very indifferently at times. He can stroke thethree or explode to the basket when properly motivated. At times, Gay appearedto disappear on the court in games. He can score at will when he wants buttends to get lost in the flow of the game. Gay has all of the requisite toolsto be a star at the next level. If he can put together all of the talents thathe has on the court in a consistent fashion, gay could average over 20 points anight in the NBA. If he fails to do this, he will be a wasted lottery pick.
9. Patrick O’Bryant, Center, Golden State, O’Bryantis a legitimate 7 footer with a 7’6” wingspan. He can run the court well forhis size and has good agility. His long wingspan allows him to block manyshots. Some scouts considered O’Bryant to be the top true center prospect inthe draft. Other scouts were not quite as impressed. O’Bryant made a name forhimself with his dominating performance against Pittsburgh in the NCAAtournament. He has dent moves in the low post, but is far from a polishedproduct.
10. Saer Sene, Center, Seattle,
11. J.J. Redick, SG, Orlando,
12. Hilton Armstrong, F/C, New Orleans,
13. Thabo Sefalosha, G/F, Chicago,
14. Ronnie Brewer, G/F, Utah, Brewer brings good sizeand versatility to the Jazz for their perimeter game, especially on defense. Hehas very long arms to disrupt the passing lanes. He broke his right arm when hewas younger, contributing to an unorthodox shooting style. Offensively, Breweris more of a slasher who attacks the basket. He should be able to helpimmediately as a high-energy guy off of the bench.
15. Cedric Simmons, PF, New Orleans, Simmons is agood rebounder and shot blocker for his size with a reported wingspan of 7 feet4 inches. He should receive minutes off of the bench as rookie for his defensealone. Offensively, he will be a bit of a project, as he needs to work on hislow post game. He gets most of his points on put backs and offensive rebounds.Simmons held his own this past season when he played against other top flightforwards. He will need to work on his face to the basket game along with hispassing skills.
16. Rodney Carney, G/F, Philadelphia,
17. Shawne Williams, Forward, Indiana, Williams wasone of the more versatile and gifted big men in this year’s draft. He playedone year for Memphis before deciding to go pro. He has tons of talent thatneeds to be harnessed as he has skills to play at the NBA level. Williams alsohas a tendency to disappear at times and can get lost for long stretches ingames. He will need to work on his suspect shot selection also at the nextlevel. Williams can finish with the best of them and has a very long wingspan.
18. Oleksiy Pecherov, C/F, Washington,
19. Quincy Doby, SG, Sacramento, Douby is consideredto be a scoring machine and can score from anywhere on the floor. He can createhis own shot and has a nice release on his jumper. Douby may see playing timeimmediately in Sacramento if free agent Bonzi Wells bolts town for more money.Although he is a capable ball handler, Douby will need to improve his strength.Some scouts doubt his ability to play the point. Defensively, bigger guardswill be able to overmatch him physically.
20. Renaldo Balkman, Forward, New York,
21. Rajon Rando, PG, Boston, Physically, Rondo possesseseverything the NBA looks for in a successful starting point guard, minuspossibly an inch of height. He is a phenomenal athlete with an incredibly quickfirst step, awesome foot-speed in the open floor, and great leaping ability.Rondo also has a gigantic wingspan and enormous hands, which allow him to playmuch bigger than his size. He has excellent court vision and passing ability.Defensively, he has excellent lateral quickness and superbly quick hands. Rondois also a terrific rebounder who indeed led his team in this category from thepoint guard position. Rando must improve his perimeter shooting. He will alsoneed to get stronger to survive in the NBA.
22. MarcusWilliams, PG, New Jersey, Williamswas considered by many to be the top point guard in this draft. He slid thisfar in the draft over character issues surrounding the theft of four lap topcomputers. This incident caused him to be suspended for the first semester. Helead the nation in assists at 8.6 per game this past year.
23. Josh Boone.F/C, New Jersey, Boone isconsidered to be a good transition player and a high-energy guy for a big man.He is a good defender and a good rebounder for his size.
24. Kyle Lowry, Guard, Memphis,
25. Shannon Brown, Guard, Cleveland, Brown ishopefully one of the pieces needed to lift the Cavs to the next level of playin the NBA. At 6’ 4”, Brown has an NFL type body and was an outstandingdefensive player in the Big Ten. He was
26. Jordan Farmar, PG, LA Lakers, Farmar has outstandingcourt vision, is an excellent passer and a good ball handler. At 6’ 2”, he isbig enough to play the point in the NBA. Possessing good poise, he has a nicefeel for the game and knows when to push the tempo and when to slow play down.He is a streaky shooter, especially from the outside. Farmar will need toimprove his shot selection at the next level.
27. Sergio Rodriguez, PG, Portland, Rodriguez isconsidered to be a fabulous passer and a magician with the ball. He has beencalled the Jason Kidd of Spain by some scouts. His big downside is the factthat he is turnover prone and must also learn to improve his defense.
28. Maurice Ager,Guard, Dallas, Ager is a niceup-tempo player who runs the court well and can attack the basket intransition. At 6’5”, he could be a nice wing player in the NBA. He is an excellentathlete with solid quickness, an excellent first step and terrific leapingability. He is long-armed and very well built. As a defender, Ager has nice potential but has yet to put everythingtogether. He will need to improve his ball handling and overall understandingof the game.
29. Mardy Collins,PG, New York, Collins wasgood value pick for the Knicks at this slot. He is a good character guy withgood size and strength to help at the point guard position. A legit 6-foot-6point guard, Collins has great size for the position, and unlike many convertedwing-to-point prospects, he really plays like one. He’s a coach’s dream because he always plays within himself,never forces things and rarely makes unforced errors. Smart and fundamentallysound, he seems to have a great understanding of the game, knowing when to lookfor his shot and when to get his teammates involved. He has superb hands andoutstanding anticipation skills, and his excellent footwork, wingspan andlateral movement do the rest. The big knock on Collins is his poor shooting,especially from behind the three-point line.
30. Joel Freeland, Center, Portland, Freeland was onethe surprise picks of the first round for many NBA fans. At age 19, he isconsidered to be very raw, as he has played the game for only a few years. Hewas the surprise of the Euro-Reebok camp this spring. Freeland has to beconsidered a pick for the future, as he is at least two years away fromcontributing. He will most likely stay in Europe to develop his game.
31. James White, SG, Portland, White is a 6’7” wing player whocan finish well. He is a good instinctive passer for his size.
32. Steve Novak,SF, Houston, Novak is aclassic catch and shoot guy with very good range from deep on the court. Hisability to stretch the defense could be a huge plus in Houston. He will need towork on his lateral quickness and strength.
33. Solomon Jones, PF, Atlanta, Jones is versatileand athletic enough to help off of the bench. Jones has good height at 6-10, but plays much bigger than his sizethanks to his pterodactyl-like wingspan. Athletically, he is outstanding,featuring great foot speed, an excellent (and very quick) vertical leap and allthe quickness he needs to make his presence felt on the floor. Jones has aknack for shot blocking that can’t be taught, averaging three per game lastseason. He will need to add weight to his frame, get stronger and improve alimited offensive game.
46. Dee Brown, PG, Utah, Brown slipped to thesecond round due to concerns over his size (6’0”) and shooting ability. He hasblazing speed and can pass and dribble at full speed. With his outstandingquickness and speed, he can drive to the basket quite easily. Brown has goodleadership qualities, but needs to improve his decision-making ability. He willalso need to get used to guarding bigger point guards in the NBA.
47. Paul Millsap, PF, Utah, Millsap is the only player to lead the NCAA in rebounding forthree consecutive seasons. Millsap hasan NBA body minus an inch or two, an excellent frame and very long arms. He hasdecent quickness, good leaping ability and excellent strength, especially inthe lower body. Offensively, Millsapwas able to do a lot of damage at the mid-major level thanks to his bulk, athleticism,tenacious attitude and the way he runs the floor. He could be a real forceafter he adjusts to a much higher level of competition.
49. Leon Powe, PF, Boston, Powe led the Pac-10 in scoring(20.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.1 rpg) last season, helping the Golden Bears tothe NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003. He is a physical specimencapable of scoring inside or out, and he overpowered much of his collegecompetition. NBA personnel worry about Powe's injury history because he has hadreconstructive knee surgery twice and missed his sophomore season (2004-2005).He also suffered a stress fracture that sidelined him the first month of lastseason. He has a 7-foot-2 wingspan to go with his great upper body strength.The biggest questions about Powe revolve around his injury history and the facthe is undersized to play power forward in the pros.